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Friend with lung cancer - what kind of doctor should manage her treatment?

anicca's picture
anicca
Posts: 335
Joined: Dec 2010

I have a friend who was just diagnosed with what is likely stage 1 small cell.  I haven't seen the cytology report from her needle biopsy, and she does not know yet what type it is, but was a heavy smoker.  I would like her to go to a well respected cancer center like NYU or Sloan, but don't even know what kind of doctor she should be looking for.  Also, of course, time is of the essence.  My own experience is with ovarian cancer, so choice of doctor was simple for me.

dennycee
Posts: 836
Joined: Mar 2011

While small cell lung cancer is considered to be the most likely cancer for heavy smokers, many smokers also develop adenocarcinoma  or squamous cell as well.  Small cell was formerly referred to as oat cell as well because of the distinctive shape of that cell.  

If the biopsy confirms sclc treatment will begin right away.  Actually if its limited am cell or non am cell they will likely refer for a surgeon.  Dr Raja Flores at Mt Sinai is a rock star in thoracic surgery.  http://mobile.mountsinai.org/profiles/raja-m-flores

A thoracic surgeon and/or thoracic oncologist specialist is the best choice.  Please let us know the outcome. 

anicca's picture
anicca
Posts: 335
Joined: Dec 2010

Thanks for your reply.

My friend's surgery was uneventful, and Stage 1A was confirmed.  What makes me uneasy is that her surgeon did not discuss prognosis with her at all.  He simply said he got it all and come back in 6 months.  He did tell her she will be monitored every 6 months for 2 years.  She had an appointment with a top lung oncologist at NYU (because I told her she should), but cancelled it after the surgery.  I still think she should see an oncologist.

BTW, small cell can be adenocarcinoma, that just means the cancer arose from glandular structures in epithelial tissues.  MY friend's is small cell adenocarcinoma, acinar type.

dennycee
Posts: 836
Joined: Mar 2011

Standard of care for stage 1a is surgery with the stated follow up.  Stage 1A doesn't receive adjuvant chemo or radiation.  Nor is there follow up with an oncologist (SoC again).  There is a presumption that they have cured the patient.  I would not be comfortable with that either.  If you would like corroboration from a thoracic oncologist visit cancergrace.org. They have several lung cancer specialists there that take questions from patients.  

This week there is a large International Conference on Lung Cancer in Denver so allow a couple days for response.  I love to learn new stuff, thank you for the info!

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